The Acting Speaker of Adamawa State House of Assembly, Mr. Kwamoti La’Ore, has dismissed speculation of a possible power tussle between him and the former Acting Governor of the State, Mr. Ahmadu Fintiri.
La’Ore, who spoke exclusively with The PUNCH in reactions to the current political development in the state, said emphatically that he would relinquish power to Fintiri whenever he decided to return to the assembly.
He said, “He is our speaker and he will come back as the speaker. As acting governor, he performed very well in the short period and we are happy with him. He will come and resume as the speaker any day.”
La’Ore also advised those saying Fintiri should not return as speaker because of power balancing, to remember that the legislature had its own rules of operation.
According to him, members can choose to elect their speaker when they know that the person is not a “mediocre person” and was capable of presiding over the parliament.
An Abuja Federal High Court had on Wednesday terminated Fintiri’s reign as the acting governor of the state, paving the way for the inauguration of the former Deputy Governor, Mr. Bala Ngilari, as the substantive governor.
The court had also halted Saturday’s governorship bye-election in the state in which the former acting governor would have flown the Peoples Democratic Party’s flag as a candidate.
La’Ore, a lawyer, noted that as lawmakers, they complied with the decision of the court.
“We do not agree with the decision of the court, but we have to comply as lawmakers. That is why we appealed the judgment; before the law, that is the only option you can take when you do not agree with the decision of a court,” he added.
Before he spoke with The PUNCH, the assembly convened an emergency session on the political development in the state but was silent on Fintiri’s fate.
Before the session commenced, there was speculation that Fintiri would preside to pass the message that he had assumed his original position as speaker.
However, he did not show up at the session, which was presided over by La’Ori.
The hurriedly held session lasted barely 20 minutes and with no mention of the court decision, the inauguration of Ngilari and the fate of Fintiri.
However, a member representing Michika Constituency, Mr. Adamu Kamale, raised the issue of Fintiri under “personal explanations” when he got the permission of La’Ori.
Kamale stood up and made reference to the “recent political development in the state.
He added that, as law-abiding citizens, members of the assembly would respect the decision of the court.
But, Kamale also made the point that Fintiri was “one of us and gave a very good account of himself in the short period he was the acting governor.”
He stated that the sacked acting governor deserved the commendation of his colleagues ahead of his return to the assembly.
Kamale spoke further, “Given that he gave a very good account of himself, as his colleagues, we commend his excellent work.”
La’Ore overruled a move to debate the matter on the grounds that under the rules of the House, personal explanations could only be heard but not debated.
The session quickly rose without making any official comment on the issue. It also did not comment on Fintiri.
It was gathered that the aim of the session was to douse tension over a possible power tussle between Ka’Ore and Fintiri.
An assembly aide told The PUNCH that a series of meetings were held by the lawmakers to ensure that there was no major crack among them.
He said, “There is a dilemma having to do with the fact that Ngilari and Fintiri are from the same senatorial zone (Adamawa-North).
“In order to balance the power equation in the state, there are talks that the governor and the speaker cannot come from the same zone.
“That means, they require wisdom to handle the case of Fintiri to avoid crisis.”
La’Ore is from Adamawa-South senatorial zone.
The PUNCH learnt that some forces were pushing for Ngilari’s deputy to come from Adamawa-Central zone, a move that may effectively close the door against Fintiri.
As the session rose, Kamale, who is the Chairman, House Committee on Information, told reporters that Fintiri remained the speaker.
He explained that while Fintiri was the acting governor, he remained the substantive speaker of the House.
“This is a constitutional matter. The law is very clear on this. Even though Fintiri acted as governor, he was still the speaker of the assembly. There is no ambiguity in this case”, Kamale argued.
On how retaining Fintiri would balance the political equation in the state, Kamale replied that the speakership was an “elective and not an appointive position.”
He added, “If the people of the state decided that their governor and speaker should come from the same zone, what is the problem with that?”
La’Ore did not comment on the issue as he emerged from the chambers of the assembly and hurriedly hopped into his waiting four wheel drive .
Fintiri, through his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Solomon Kumangar, said after the session that he had reverted to his former position as speaker.
The former acting governor thanked the people of the state for the “ tremendous support” they gave him during his two months and three weeks’ tenure in office.
The statement read, “ Umaru Fintiri who has since resumed office as the Speaker of the Adamawa State House of Assembly also expresses gratitude to all the state legislators, members of the National Assembly, the Peoples Democratic Party, opposition and the overwhelming majority of the people who not only shared his vision and zeal of rescuing and emancipating Adamawa State from the shackles of bad governance but rallied together with him to banish tyranny, tribalism and premordial sentiment from state.
“He pledges his life to the struggle to lift Adamawa State out of the morass in which it has found itself and that the whole issue is not about Fintiri but about Adamawa State.
“He said anyone who takes the democratic revolution that has taken place as personal is being selfish and does not love Adamawa State.”
Although Fintiri said he was ready to follow his appeal against the FHC judgment to its logical conclusion, he insisted that the ousted governor, Murtala Nyako, received Ngilari’s resignation letter before his (Nyako’s) impeachment on July 15.
The former acting governor said contrary to the FHC judgment, Nyako had after receiving the letter nominated Kamale to replace him (Ngilari).
Fintiri, through his counsel, Mr. Duro Adeyele (SAN), stated this in an eight-ground notice of appeal filed shortly after the FHC judgment on Wednesday.
The particulars of his first ground of appeal reads, “There was a conflict between the parties as to whether the plaintiff (Ngilari) wrote Exhibit AU1, the letter of the plaintiff to the 5th defendant (Nyako) resigning from office.
“There was a conflict between the parties as to whether the 5th defendant wrote Exhibit AU2, the letter of the then governor of Adamawa State to the Speaker nominating Adamu Kamale as the deputy governor, the plaintiff having resigned his position.”
The PUNCH however learnt that Fintiri had yet to file a motion for stay of execution of the judgment.
This was contrary to the claim he made through a former Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Bayo Ojo, shortly after the FHC verdict.
Meanwhile, Ngilari has fully resumed work at the Government House in Yola, where he received members of the Peoples Democratic Party’s Reconciliation and Realignment Committee.
The committee, which was led by Senator Ken Nnamani, had a former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Umar Ghali Na’Abba, as a member.
The committee has been going around the states, trying to reconcile the PDP factions and reunite aggrieved parties.